When an app is unresponsive or malfunctioning on your PC or mobile device, forcibly closing and reopening the app is an effective troubleshooting solution. While there are several ways to force quit an application on Mac computers, there are also cases where the Force Quit feature does not work. In this article, we explore five (5) probable fixes to this anomaly.
The nature of the problem varies and is often temporary. Usually nothing serious or extreme. The solution could be as easy as clicking a button. Conversely, you may need to run seemingly complex commands or do a complete overhaul of your Mac’s operating system. Usually these are simple things and we’ll walk you through the process.
1. Restart Mac
When was the last time you shut down your Mac? Some features of your computer may start to malfunction if left on for too long. If the apps continue to work after you force them to quit, you need to restart your Mac. Remember to save running processes and manually close all active apps so you don’t lose unsaved documents.
Tap the Apple icon in the menu bar and select Restart.
2. Boot into safe mode
If the problem persists even after restarting, you need to start your Mac in Safe Mode. Also known as Safe Boot, this will put your computer into diagnostic mode where it will automatically fix software issues that are preventing your applications from launching or closing properly.
Safe Mode can also be used to fix Mac disk errors and other startup related issues. Follow the steps below to start your Mac in Safe Mode. But before that, you should take a minute to read comprehensively how and when to use Safe Mode on Mac.
Step 1: Shut down your Mac; tap the Apple icon in the menu bar and select Stop.
2nd step: Turn on your computer and immediately hold down the Shift key on your keyboard. Hold down the Shift key until your Mac starts up.
Step 3: Release the Shift key when the login screen appears on the screen.
You may be prompted to re-enter your password a second time if your computer’s startup disk is encrypted with FileVault. The first connection decrypts your Mac’s hard drive while the second logs you into your account.
Note: In Safe Mode, some features such as Wi-Fi, USB connections, video capture, and file sharing may not work. There are also possibilities for screen distortion / flickering on your Mac in Safe Mode. Restarting your device will normally resolve these issues. So you have nothing to fear.
Step 4: Check if you can force quit apps in safe mode. Now restart your computer normally and check if the Force Quit option is working.
Proceed to the next troubleshooting solution if Force Quit still does not work in Safe Mode or after restarting your Mac normally.
3. Use the terminal
The macOS Terminal application is similar to the Command Prompt tool on Windows 10 computers. With Terminal, you can easily change the performance of your Mac and start processes that will not function normally. If force quitting an app from the Dock, Activity Monitor, or Apple menu doesn’t work, try killing the app from Terminal.
Step 1: Press Go on the menu bar and select Utilities.
2nd step: Double click on Terminal.
Step 3: Paste the command below into the Terminal console and hit Return on your keyboard.
This will reveal a list of active applications and processes in the console with their individual process ID (PID).
Step 4: Find the app you want to force quit and write down its process identification number (PID), a three or four digit number on the left side.
In this tutorial, we are going to force quit the Skitch app with the PID number 1133, as shown in the screenshot above.
Quick advice: Use the Command + F keyboard shortcut to quickly search and find an app.
Step 5: Type kill, leave a space, type the PID number of the app and press Return on your keyboard. See the command below for reference.
The application will be forcibly closed immediately.
4. Update the application
In a scenario where you cannot force quit a single app, we recommend that you update the app to the latest available version. This can help resolve any app specific issue that is preventing it from working properly. Go to the Updates section of the App Store and update the relevant app.
You can also update the app from the developer’s website, in-app update section, or from the app settings menu.
5. Update macOS
Keeping your Mac up to date also helps eliminate software issues that cause apps or your device to malfunction.
Step 1: Tap the Apple icon in the menu bar and select “About This Mac”.
2nd step: On the Overview tab, click Software Update.
Step 3: Press the Update Now button.
Stop the process
We are convinced that at least one of these solutions should work magic for you. If the issue is still not resolved and you still cannot force quit apps on your Mac, drop a comment below. Let’s see how we can help you.
Are FaceTime calls from your iPhone or iPad not streaming to your Mac? Refer to the solutions in the detailed guide below to resolve the issue.
Last updated 23 Oct 2020
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